Avocado lovers, your favorite food has a bit of a dirty secret.
A new report from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that washing avocados before eating them is crucial. A good portion of the avocado skins sampled recently tested positive for bacteria like listeria or salmonella during.
Of course you don’t eat the skin, but you’re still at risk if you don’t wash your fruit first. That’s because the knife you are using to cut through the avocado’s exterior (and you certainly have to use a knife to break through) can carry these potentially fatal bacteria into the flesh of the fruit — which you do eat. Of the 1,615 avocados sampled in the study, 17 percent carried the harmful bacteria, so this isn’t a one-in-a-million chance — this is very common.
The study included avocados grown both domestically and internationally.
The good news is that only .24 percent of the avocados in the study showed the presence of listeria in the flesh.
In order to reduce your risk of ingesting these bacteria, Foodsafety.gov recommends thoroughly washing all produce with water before eating, cutting or cooking it — whether or not you eat the exterior. The FDA also recommends going a step further and scrubbing produce like avocados, melons and cucumbers with a brush, then drying the fruit with a clean cloth before cutting with a clean knife.